Every year we celebrate different days for advocates to share their passion for certain subjects, or bring awareness to certain issues. Many people will recognize that every October - the NFL players wear pink socks or jerseys in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We are also finishing up Hispanic Heritage Month in about a week and a half, in which, an entire culture is honored and remembered for its contributions to the world. Next week, there is one important day for Ayana, and hopefully so many other people in the world. World Mental Health Day falls on October 10th every year, that’s next Thursday. Ayana hopes all of our readers and followers will understand the importance of this day and how you can participate after reading this article!
That is a day to bring attention to mental health, mental illnesses, honor those who have brought awareness to this subject, and commend those who are fighting the invisible battle of a mental illness. This year’s World Mental Health Day is focusing on suicide prevention. The World Health Organization (WHO) puts on a theme on every World Mental Health Day to bring awareness to more specific parts of mental health and provide people with ways to participate. This year’s is about taking 40 seconds of action, because every forty seconds someone takes their own life.
So the WHO has provided the following objectives for participating on this important day:
improve awareness of the significance of suicide as a global public health problem
improve knowledge of suicide prevention measures
reduce the stigma associated with suicide
let people know that they are not alone
October 10th has also been referred to as National Depression Screening Day, where many clinics will offer free screenings for depression. It is important to take advantage of this day, and bring attention to it, in case someone around you could use the encouragement to use this resource.
Events you can participate in
Within this next week, many large organizations and mental health advocates put on events and workshops to help educate people about mental health, and bring awareness to the resources that are out there. This includes the National Alliance on Mental Illness putting on their yearly walk this Saturday, October 5th. NAMIWalks LA County 2019 will take place at Grand Park's Event Lawn (the area between N Broadway and Spring St) - that's right across from City Hall. The following weekend the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has one of their ‘Out of the Darkness’ walks in San Luis Obispo, California. Along with these California locations, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has walks in states across the country over the next two weekends, which can be a great way to participate in making a difference on this World Mental Health Day. From Titusville, Florida to Bonham, Texas to Jamestown & Binghamton, New York to Miami, and literally hundreds, anyone is welcome to participate in.
Many famous mental health advocates will also join in on spreading the word about mental health. Last year, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited teens who have been diagnosed with mental health challenges, and listened to them share their personal stories and struggles about living with a mental illness conditions. Brandon Marshall, a New York Jets player also let the world know that he was running the Brooklyn Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon for a non profit, and was dedicating each mile of the race to a different mental illness. Other celebrities, including 2016 Presidential Candidate, Hillary Clinton, turned to social media to help normalize the conversation around mental health.
These are simple activities or conversations that any person can participate in, in order to address some of the main issues in the world of health right now. One in five people has a mental illness condition ranging from eating disorders, OCD, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, PTSD, schizophrenia, and so many others. The normalization of mental health can start with you.
World Health Organization’s Participation Tips
The WHO has offered ways to take the “40 seconds of action” on this World Mental Health Day:
If you are struggling, take 40 seconds to kickstart a conversation with someone you trust about how you are feeling.
If you know someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, take 40 seconds to start a conversation and ask them how they are doing.
If you work in media, highlight the 40-second statistic in interviews, articles and blog posts.
If you work in the arts or on digital platforms, interrupt your production or broadcast to transmit a 40-second message about mental health or suicide prevention.
If you are an employer or manager, take 40 seconds to formulate a positive message of support to your employees about resources available to them in the workplace, or local community in times of mental distress.
If you want your leaders to hear your request for action, record a 40-second audio clip or video telling them the action you want them to take on suicide prevention and mental health.
If you have a platform for communicating with a large audience (social media, television, radio), provide 40-second slots for sharing mental health stories and messages.
If you hold political office, communicate publicly about action you are taking to promote mental health and suicide prevention in highlighting the 40-second statistic.
Ayana and World Mental Health Day
Providing better mental health therapy and services to the world is why we are here. This is important because on World Mental Health Day we are talking about every single person’s mental health and how Ayana is here to provide care, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, where they can feel understood. Being matched with a therapist who can provide you with culturally competent care is a right and not a privilege you have when you come to Ayana.